Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - November 10, 2011

From: Miami, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Lists, Meadow Gardens, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Groundcovers for Miami, FL
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I live in Miami, Florida. I have a medium size Bismarck Palm in my front yard. What would be a good ground cover other than grass around this palm?

ANSWER:

The Bismarck Palm [Bismarckia nobilis] is native to the island of Madagascar, so we haven’t much to say about this plant.  From the pictures on the web and descriptions, it does appear attractive and doesn’t seem to provide much shade or induce other issues for your groundcover.

Mr Smarty Plants offered a discussion of ground covers for southern Florida a while ago.  These plants would also be good choices for you.  Other excellent sources are the Florida Native Plant Society and Plant Real Florida.  Plant Real Florida has a list of recommended plants set out by plant community for Miami-Dade County, this includes groundcovers.  Similarly, the Florida Native Plant Society has a list of recommended plants for Dade County which explicitly notes groundcovers.

Two groundcovers are on both the Native Plant Society recommendations and the Wildflower Center recommended list for South Florida.  These are Sisyrinchium angustifolium (Narrowleaf blue-eyed grass) and Zamia pumila (Coontie).  The Native Plant Society list has five other groundcovers that are not on the Wildflower Centers list, but which the USDA lisits as native.  These include Bacopa caroliniana, Canavalia rosea, Licania michauxii, Peperomia obtusifolia, and Stachytarpheta jamaicensis.

This is a great set of options; hopefully from this you can find a groundcover that will look attractive and coexist peacefully with your Bismarckia nobilis

 

From the Image Gallery


Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Shoreline seapurslane
Sesuvium portulacastrum

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Narrowleaf blue-eyed grass
Sisyrinchium angustifolium

Narrowleaf blue-eyed grass
Sisyrinchium angustifolium

Narrowleaf blue-eyed grass
Sisyrinchium angustifolium

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Native grasses for traffic area in Austin
February 11, 2009 - What time of the year is best to plant grass seed in Central Texas? My lawn is in bad shape due to the drought and my dogs. I am considering replanting with tall fescue, do you have any comments or ...
view the full question and answer

Using Pensylvania Sedge in Dover, DE.
June 11, 2014 - Regarding Pennsylvania sedge, I am thinking of planting the sedge along our driveway, which is under trees and not reached by our sprinkler system. Across the driveway, there is lawn. Is it likely tha...
view the full question and answer

Native grass mix suitable for Houston
December 10, 2009 - Do you have a native grass mix that is appropriate to the Houston area- or will the one you have developed to this point work as well here as it does in Central Texas? If not, when will you begin to ...
view the full question and answer

Setaria scheelei grass for San Antonio
March 21, 2011 - It seems that ornamental grasses for dry shady places are few and far between. Southwestern Bristlegrass (Setaria scheelei) is exactly what I'm looking for and would solve all my problems! Only I c...
view the full question and answer

Riverbank Plants for Minnesota
September 04, 2013 - I would like to stablize a steep riverbank slope along the Upper Mississippi in St. Cloud MN. The slopes are almost 1:1. We are using an open cell concrete matt in which we are going to plant native...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.